While away at an ASL Immersion Camp not so very long ago, I faced the challenge of using sign to communicate as opposed to verbal communication. Now, if you know me you immediately realize the obvious challenge at hand, but it was much more difficult than obviously presumed!
During mealtimes there were writing tablets and pens placed every few feet upon the dining tables. These tablets were most helpful in picking up communication via written communique, where signing skills left much to be desired or there is a lack of understanding in a mealtime conversation. While one could also finger spell, that didn't always make for the most fluid continuity in a conversation.
Once we as campers got the hang of signing for the most part but also simply jotting down the misunderstood, it became nerve-wracking at times when you found yourself or someone close in proximity to you actually speaking aloud! *GASP*s followed by "Shhhh" in the moment a vocal utterance was released! I myself felt in fear of "being caught" whether it was actually me or the person I might be in conversation with! Imagine ME afraid of Talking!!! It struck me as both funny and incredibly WoW, that this experience could have that kind of impact.
"Vocies Off" a rule taken seriously at camp; by most, to aid in the success as prospective scholars of ASL , in respect of the learning environment and respect for our instructors of the Deaf Community and Culture. They were all very understanding when perhaps voices "On" happened and I commend them for their incredible amount of patience. Somehow in my head perhaps I held a vision of having my knuckles rapped for using my voice! For me silence was indeed golden and while hard to believe YES, talking became a nerve-wracking condition to work at controlling!
Friday, August 29, 2014
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